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The Nov. 8 general election is just around the corner, and voters have big decisions to make for Los Angeles and California. To help voters choose, the Times editorial page publishes endorsements based on candidate interviews and independent reporting.
Every registered voter will be mailed a ballot in early October, giving people lots of time to read up on the candidates, tune in to a forum, consider endorsements, including ours, and make a decision before the last day of voting.
Proposition 1: Yes
After the Supreme Court overturned Roe vs. Wade, every state needs to have the right to abortion stated in its constitution. That includes California, though it is already one of the most progressive states in the nation on reproductive rights.
Proposition 26: No
Proposition 26 would allow sports betting in person at four privately owned horse-racing tracks and at tribal casinos that reach agreements with the state. The measure amounts to a toxic brew of industry interests designed not only to enrich the funders but also to push away their competitors. If California ever decides to embrace sports betting, it should be with a framework that is as evenhanded as possible, and not one that so blatantly picks winners and losers.
Proposition 27: No
Proposition 27 would allow sports betting online on sites run by California tribes or large companies that partner with them. That would essentially turn every cellphone, tablet and computer into a legal casino where bets could be placed with a few taps on an app, enabling easy access to an addictive form of gambling. The measure presents more risks than benefits, which makes it a bad bet.
Proposition 28: Yes
When school budgets tighten, programs like music, dance, theater and art are often the first to be cut. Proposition 28 will guarantee an ongoing source of funding to support arts and music education in all public and charter schools, from preschool to 12th grade.
The editorial board, which is part of the Opinion section and separate from the newsroom, endorses in select races. Here’s how we make our decisions.
Proposition 29: No
On the ballot for a third time, Proposition 29 is a tired retread that could hurt dialysis patients. The added cost of hiring unnecessary staff could force some centers to close or reduce hours.
Proposition 30: No
While it may be tempting to put the burden on the rich — again — for one of California’s top priorities, voters should say no. Proposition 30 has too many flaws. It’s bankrolled by one special interest and it doubles down on an unsustainable funding model.
Proposition 31: Yes
Proposition 31 would allow a ban on sales of most flavored tobacco products, including menthol cigarettes, to take effect. Flavors in tobacco products are uniquely harmful because they mask the unappealingly harsh taste of tobacco and can lure in new and often young users and get them hooked.
Mayor: Karen Bass
Karen Bass is an accomplished leader who has spent her career working to bring people together, bridge racial divides and work for the betterment of communities.
City Attorney: Hydee Feldstein Soto
Hydee Feldstein Soto would bring deep legal expertise and independence to the job.
City Controller: Kenneth Mejia
Kenneth Mejia has shown he will be a creative and incisive controller. He understands what Angelenos want to know about their government, and he knows how to present valuable information in easy-to-understand ways.
Council District 5: Katy Young Yaroslavsky
Experienced at navigating her way through local government, Katy Young Yaroslavsky will bring to the position not just an expertise on policy but an understanding of the complexity of homelessness and other problems the city faces.
Council District 11: Erin Darling
Erin Darling will be a thoughtful and strong steward of a district that stretches from Pacific Palisades to Playa Vista where residents worry about crime, traffic, brush fires and homelessness, among other problems.
Council District 13: Hugo Soto-Martínez
Hugo Soto-Martínez will bring a new, smart voice to a City Council that desperately needs new voices. He’s a longtime union leader skilled at forming coalitions and wading into tense situations to find common ground.
Council District 15: Tim McOsker
In light of unresolved wage claims against Danielle Sandoval, the Times has changed its endorsement for City Council District 15 to Tim McOsker.
Proposition LH: Yes
Proposition LH would allow the development, construction or acquisition of up to 5,000 additional affordable housing units in each of the city’s 15 council districts. It is simply an authorization for publicly funded affordable housing, which is required under an archaic and racist provision in the California Constitution.
Proposition SP: No
The parks and recreational facilities parcel tax was slapped together at the last minute without community input. Voters should reject the measure and demand that city leaders come back with a transparent, fully formed proposal.
Measure ULA: Yes
Los Angeles desperately needs more affordable housing. The United to House L.A. measure would provide the resources needed to make sure it gets built and preserved by imposing a tax on commercial and residential property sales valued at more than $5 million.
Sheriff: Robert Luna
Former Long Beach Police Chief Robert Luna is an accomplished law enforcement professional of sound judgment, deep experience and respect for the law.
Board of Supervisors, District 3: Lindsey Horvath
West Hollywood City Councilmember Lindsey Horvath is a tireless advocate for her community, armed with creative solutions to complex problems. She is the best candidate to keep L.A. County moving forward to finally address crime, homelessness and inequality.
Measure A: Yes
The county charter amendment would permit the Board of Supervisors to remove elected sheriffs from office, for cause, by a supermajority. Any person with such unfettered armed law enforcement power needs an additional check. Measure A will provide additional board oversight and sheriff responsiveness even if it’s never used.
Measure C: Yes
Measure C would impose taxes on retail cannabis sales and growers in East L.A. and unincorporated L.A. County, after the Board of Supervisors waited several years to license and regulate cannabis businesses.
Board of Trustees Seat 2: Steven Veres
Incumbent Steven Veres has championed access and affordability for working-class students in the district and helped lead efforts to improve graduation and transfer rates.
Board of Trustees Seat 4: Sara Hernandez
Land-use attorney Sara Hernandez has a clear vision of how to meet the needs of current students, including improving student outcomes and expanding free college options.
Board of Trustees Seat 6: Gabriel Buelna
Incumbent Gabriel Buelna helped lead trustees through a difficult period during the COVID-19 pandemic. He has shown strong and smart leadership, including leading a team to upgrade district technology.
Board of Trustees Seat 7: Kelsey Iino
Kelsey Iino has served as trustee for just a few months but shows promise as a district leader. Her priorities include increasing college accessibility and affordability for students who are first-generation, veterans and previously incarcerated residents.
Measure LA: Yes
Measure LA is an investment in the educational future of residents served by the country’s largest community college district. The $5.3 billion bond will help modernize aging facilities and infrastructure on nine campuses.
District 2: María Brenes
María Brenes has worked for years to bring urgency to improving educational outcomes in underperforming schools that had low expectations for their mostly Black and Latino students. Brenes would push harder for the type of reforms that will make Los Angeles schools deliver for these children.
District 6: Kelly Gonez
Incumbent board member Kelly Gonez has been a solid representative and more pragmatic than ideological, taking balanced positions that place the needs of underserved students first.
Los Angeles Superior Court judges:
Office No. 60: Abby Baron
Los Angeles County Deputy Dist. Atty. Abby Baron is a career prosecutor who has won praise from defense lawyers for fairness and straight dealing, as well as strong backing from law enforcement and crime victims’ advocates.
Office No. 67: Fernanda Maria Barreto
Deputy Dist. Atty. Fernanda Maria Barreto is a standout prosecutor, assigned to deal with particularly sensitive cases in the Victim Impact Program. She also has brief experience in a civil law practice.
Office No. 70: Holly Hancock
Los Angeles County Deputy Public Defender Holly Hancock is an experienced and accomplished criminal defense lawyer. She has an impressive record of courtroom accomplishment, winning her clients reduced charges or outright acquittals in the majority of her cases.
Office No. 90: Melissa Lyons
Melissa Lyons has been a deputy district attorney for 16 years, most notably in the Sex Crimes Division. Outside the office she has volunteered with the Summer Night Lights Program sponsored by Los Angeles’ Office of Gang Reduction and Youth Development.
Office No. 118: Melissa Hammond
Deputy Dist. Atty. Melissa Hammond has also served as a deputy public defender and a civil practitioner, acquiring valuable perspective and experience.
Office No. 151: Patrick Hare
Deputy Public Defender Patrick Hare is a highly accomplished criminal defense attorney who enjoys the unusual distinction of being endorsed by dozens of Superior Court judges in a race in which his opponent is a prosecutor. He is widely lauded for his skill, trial experience and integrity.
Supreme Court and Court of Appeal justices
California Chief Justice: Patricia Guerrero. Yes.
When Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye announced that she would not seek a second 12-year term, Gov. Gavin Newsom nominated Patricia Guerrero to replace her. If Guerrero wins approval at the polls, she will become chief justice on Jan. 2.
Supreme Court Associate Justice
Unlike in Superior Court races, in which judicial candidates face off against one another, Supreme Court and Court of Appeal justices seek retention with without opponents. The voters’ job is to say either “yes” or “no” to each of them.
Goodwin Liu. Yes.
Joshua P. Groban. Yes.
Martin J. Jenkins. Yes.
2nd District Court of Appeal Justice
Audrey B. Collins. Yes.
Brian S. Currey. Yes.
Elizabeth Annette Grimes. Yes.
Hernaldo J. Baltodano. Yes.
John L. Segal. Yes.
John Shepard Wiley Jr. Yes.
Judith M. Ashmann. Yes.
Lamar W. Baker. Yes.
Luis A. Lavin. Yes.
Frances Rothschild. Yes.
Laurence D. Rubin. Yes.
Maria E. Stratton. Yes.
Governor: Gavin Newsom
Gov. Gavin Newsom has spent four years approving groundbreaking changes that have great potential to make life better in this state. He deserves a second term to allow him to effectively carry out his vision.
Lieutenant Governor: Eleni Kounalakis
Eleni Kounalakis has grown into the job well, quickly establishing herself as a knowledgeable state leader and a policymaker, sponsoring and supporting important legislation and voting in the interests of students and the environment on the boards she sits on.
Secretary of State: Shirley Weber
Shirley Weber is running for the first time after serving as secretary of state for the last two years as a political appointee. She has proved to be a reliable and fair chief elections officer.
Controller: Lanhee Chen
Lanhee Chen’s focus is on the controller’s power to audit government spending. He pledges to scrutinize the biggest categories of spending and rate programs based on their effectiveness. This is an urgently needed service in a state that has a record of poor performance despite its soaring $300-billion budget.
Treasurer: Fiona Ma
Fiona Ma is regarded as a hardworking, innovative elected official who takes seriously the office’s responsibilities and opportunities, although troubling missteps have put a cloud over her first term.
Attorney General: Rob Bonta
Bonta has done a solid job in his year-and-a-half tenure, helping California advance its interests in some of the top issues of our time, including gun proliferation, abortion rights, housing and climate change.
Insurance Commissioner: Ricardo Lara
Ricardo Lara will almost certainly win a second term in this overwhelmingly blue state. But we hope that the large field of challengers he faced for reelection will remind Lara that he needs to do a better job serving the public.
Superintendent of Public Instruction: Tony Thurmond
Thurmond may have a weak record, but his opponent’s agenda is worse. We hope that Thurmond uses a second term to develop into the superintendent of public instruction who makes an educational difference.
Senate District 20: Caroline Menjivar
Caroline Menjivar has an impressive track record that combines on-the-ground experience serving her community with academic training in public policy.
Senate District 28: Lola Smallwood-Cuevas
Lola Smallwood-Cuevas has an impressive track record that blends big-picture thinking about economic trends with on-the-ground advocacy to improve the lives of working people.
Assembly District 39: Juan Carrillo
Palmdale City Councilman Juan Carrillo has valuable experience that has prepared him to help tackle two of California’s most pressing issues: housing and education.
Assembly District 40: Pilar Schiavo
Pilar Schiavo has a solid record of community service and a passion for solutions that will serve Santa Clarita Valley residents well.
Assembly District 51: Rick Chavez Zbur
Rick Chavez Zbur is an attorney with a long background in environmental law, LGBTQ civil rights advocacy and California Democratic Party politics, and he’s well-versed in how to effectively move legislation in Sacramento.
Assembly District 61: Tina McKinnor
Tina McKinnor won an Assembly seat in a special election in June and is now running for her first full term. During her short time in office, McKinnor has proved to be a solid progressive vote, supporting ambitious climate legislation and gun control bills.
Assembly District 69: Josh Lowenthal
Josh Lowenthal has a broad vision for confronting this district’s many challenges, from climate change, air pollution and the economy to housing and homelessness.
U.S. Senate: Alex Padilla
Alex Padilla is a level-headed and thoughtful lawmaker with a demonstrated commitment to improving life for the working class and immigrants, and who champions democratic ideals and institutions.
Congressional District 27: Christy Smith
Christy Smith is a level-headed centrist who wants to strengthen voting rights, make college and trade schools more affordable and carry legislation to put a social worker in every school that serves low-income children.
Congressional District 37: Sydney Kamlager
Sydney Kamlager has solid policy skills and a sense of political finesse. Her experience passing legislation, parsing the state budget and navigating Sacramento’s political labyrinth has prepared her for the rigors of Washington.
Congressional District 40: Asif Mahmood
Dr. Asif Mahmood is committed to fighting for the personal rights that Californians have come to expect but that are now under threat by the Supreme Court.
Congressional District 41: Will Rollins
Will Rollins, a former federal prosecutor, has the ideal blend of policy know-how and pragmatism for an area with complex needs.
Congressional District 42: Robert Garcia
Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia is a thoughtful and accomplished leader who blends hard-charging progressive values with an inspiring expression of optimism.
Congressional District 45: Jay Chen
Jay Chen is a longtime community leader who is thoughtful, collaborative and mission-driven. He wants to protect reproductive rights and fight for the region’s fair share of federal funding.
Congressional District 47: Katie Porter
Rep. Katie Porter has proved to be an effective consumer advocate with a knack for grilling corporate executives and government officials, and she’s shown political independence by challenging party leaders and business as usual in Washington.
Congressional District 49: Mike Levin
Rep. Mike Levin is an effective champion and protector of the district’s natural resources. He’s pushed for more robust federal action to combat climate change and worked with his Republican colleagues on veterans issues and coastal habitat.
Get Group Therapy
Life is stressful. Our weekly mental wellness newsletter can help.
You may occasionally receive promotional content from the Los Angeles Times.